Last summer, you hit your goal weight. You never looked or felt better for your vacation and indulged in desserts, buffets and lounging by the pool, reasoning that you could treat yourself after all your hard work achieving your goal. When you returned, work got busy and left you less and less time to work out. This summer, you’re not even sure the dress you bought months ago for your friend’s baby shower will fit. Time to go on another diet!
Sound familiar? You’re probably tired of yo-yo dieting, or weight cycling, as the experts call it. Rather than only thinking about weight loss because of an important upcoming event, make it a part of your lifestyle no matter what’s going on.
Easier said than done, you’re probably thinking. It’s true, it takes time to develop new habits, so here are some ways to end yo-yo dieting for good.
Fit in a Workout
No matter how busy you get, there is always time to sneak in some exercise. Even if you can only do a few minutes each day, or only have time on weekends, any form of exercise is better than none at all.
Recognize Gimmicks Don’t Work
Despite what slick marketing campaigns or infomercials say, there is no magic pill or supplement you can take to melt the pounds away, according to the Mayo Clinic. And while some may show minimal results, they are not the long-term solution that exercise and eating right can provide. Once you complete a program, you will likely continue with the same lifestyle habits you had before, which is why you will gain the weight back.
Know Your Triggers
Had a bad day at work, so you decide you deserve a cupcake to make up for it? While it may make you feel better in the moment, this type of mentality only perpetuates unhealthy eating habits, and thus, weight gain. If other triggers such as stress or relationship problems also cause you to overeat, try a healthier alternative instead, such as going for a walk or taking a hot shower to relieve stress.
Start By Setting Small Goals for Yourself
Making a lifestyle change is no easy feat. Just like quitting a bad habit cold turkey is unlikely to work, implementing lots of changes instantly ultimately will backfire. Instead, start by setting one goal per week. For example, you could start by making a point to drink eight glasses of water per day. Then the next week you try getting the recommended servings of whole grains per day. The week after that you might add a 30-minute walk around the neighborhood in the evening five nights a week. After a month or two, you will start to notice a slimmer waistline and more energy.
Avoid Situations That Encourage Overeating
Particularly as you start your efforts, it will benefit you to remove yourself entirely from situations where you tend to eat more than usual. Holiday parties, vacations and buffet restaurants are all common offenders, so plan on a healthier activity during that time, and enlist the support of a friend or family member to make it easier on yourself.
Above All, Stay Motivated
It’s worth repeating that making lifestyle changes and sticking to them is not easy. But think back to the time you felt the most physically fit, after dieting and exercising. Think about what benefits impacted you the most. Was it the best you ever looked? Hang a picture of yourself in plain sight to remind you of what you are trying to achieve. You had it before and can have it again, this time for good, with hard work and determination. Sometimes, however, diet and exercise don’t work, no matter how motivated you are.